The only way I’d get to drive with Heidfeld : Part 1
In May 2008, it was announced that Codemasters were allowed the rights to produce a racing game based on the 2009 Formula 1 season. Reactions were initially of surprise, with EA Sports favourite to get it (they also had rights from 1999-2002), but with the engine possibly similar to that of the successful Race Driver : GRiD and Colin McRae DiRT. But if you can’t survive the wait until the latter half of the year when the latest F1 game is set to come out, what are the other alternatives?
The latest official licensed game which was produced by Sony and Studio Liverpool. And to be fair, it isn’t such a bad game. It will not go down as the best F1 game you could buy, but features wise, it is pretty good. As usual, the Career mode continues, lasting five seasons where you can try to become World Champion after starting at one of the lower ranked teams (Toro Rosso, Midland and Super Aguri). One of the main problems with this is even with the hardest settings, it is still quite easy to finish highly each race. In only the second race with Super Aguri, I managed to pass Micheal Schumacher on the last lap to win the race. I want a challenge, and I found it simplistic to win.
Aside from career mode, there is other options such as Time Trials, where you can unlock cars and the test track of Jerez. World Championship and Quick Races are also options to race in. These aren’t so bad, as you can have a quick bash around Monaco, or a skilled full length race around Silverstone. I’ve found the earlier is more for me, as I seem to get bored easily. And the save function seems to be problamatic.
The major problem with the game is the amount of bugs. The starts for example is easy to get off to a great start when everyone else seems to be like sloth’s on sleep pills. That is just one of many I’ve noticed, and around the internet, I have found more. For example, a car may push you off the track at a chicane, and you get a penalty for it.
It is not the most visually stunning racing game, it’s not the most recent racing game (released in 2002), but it is one of the most solid and exciting racing game.
Based on the 2001 season (Times when Jean Alesi was still driving and Fernando Alonso was at Minardi), it is a step on from Grand Prix 3, with massively improved graphics, data updates and gpaedia, narrated by then Arrows Team Manager Mark Hemsworth. Gpaedia is huge, with general information on Formula 1, like a tour of a typical car and statistics from former seasons.
It is easy to navigate, which is always a plus, and gameplay wise, it is again great. The set-up options are realistic, being able to choose from different settings and pitstop strategies. When you do manage to get to the track. The cars do go around like a steady man, compared to other games where they twitch and shake and feel much more realistic. But if you do say happen to go into the back of a hated driver, say Michael Schumacher, and you go into the wall, you will get damage like an F1 car would, better than F106 definatly.
But the big plus of this game is that it is mod friendly, with cars, tracks and entire seasons available to be used in game. Already at this early stage, the 2009 versions of the cars are in progress and the tracks that have been made can be found on this thread. Circuits are mainly from the F1 World, but also tracks like Philip Island and Le Mans Bugatti, as well as fictional tracks such as Maderia.
In conclusion, it is a solid game, and with the patches and mods you can download, you can have a great Formula 1 sim without the need of getting the newest version. Despite this, there is several areas which can be improved, like menu music and car reactions, but the majority of it is a great game.
That concludes part 1 of my review of Formula 1 games, look out for the second part featuring TOCA Race Driver 3 and F1 Challenge 99-02.